Tributes paid to Hull student who died after suspected spider bite

Harry Bolton discharged himself from hospital four days before being found dead at housing in October last year, inquest hears

Tributes have been paid to a 19-year-old student who died of sepsis after a suspected spider bite at his flat.

Harry Bolton, a student at the University of Hull, died on 7 October 2021, having complained of feeling unwell after a spider bit him on the back four days before his death.

Bolton attended Hull Royal Infirmary on 3 October with a fast heart rate and a high temperature. Although a blood test showed signs of inflammation, doctors did not find anything to indicate that it was a high-risk situation.

Bolton self-discharged from hospital the next afternoon, and was seen by his housemates the next day. He was later found dead in his accommodation by building security staff.

The inquest heard that paramedics who attended the scene noticed a wound the size of a £1 coin on his back, while one of Bolton’s flatmates said he had suffered a similar bite on his neck in August 2021.

Kacper-Krzysztof Zydron added that although he had sent an email to Ashcourt Student Housing about a problem with spiders, an inspection by a maintenance team had found no infestation. Zydron said the spider bite was so painful that his GP had prescribed him with antibiotics and that he could not move his neck.

The coroner was told that although Bolton’s flatmates had reported a “spider infestation” in their shared student accommodation, a subsequent inspection found nothing unusual.

Prof Paul Marks, the senior coroner for East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull, concluded that Bolton died “from sepsis due to an acute chest infection due to an infected wound on his back”.

He added: “Had he not been bitten by the invertebrate, possibly a spider, he would not have died at that time.”

An Ashcourt Student Housing spokesperson said the company had fully cooperated with the coroner’s investigation and did not wish to “stray beyond the coroner’s conclusions”.

They added: “Notably, the coroner did not feel the need to make a report to prevent future deaths, having conducted a thorough investigation and heard the evidence at the inquest.

“Our thoughts remain with Harry Bolton’s family at this difficult time.”

The Bluebell Inn, where Bolton worked, said he “illuminated the pub with his trademark smile and magnetic cheekiness” and was “adored by both colleagues and customers”.

A fundraising page started by staff at the pub, in Whaplode St Catherine, Lincolnshire, in honour of the teenager has raised £1,660 for the National Eczema Society.

According to the NHS, although spider bites in the UK are uncommon, some native spiders such as the false widow are able to leave puncture marks on the skin that can cause redness and swelling.


Tobi Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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